Wednesday, August 24, 2011


I've been given feedback on a manuscript that tells me I've got some changes to make -- things I didn't see, but that others do. It would appear that just making the submissive trust the Dom is not enough -- I also have to provide enough information so the reader trusts the Dom. Yeah, that's not a tall order. I'm sure I can make some readers trust him... but I'm not so sure I can make everyone trust him.

A caring sadist sounds like an oxymoron, but it isn't. I know that such a being exists, as I'm married to one and have met many others. But there are also cold-hearted sadists and it is important that the distinction be clear. Apparently I need to pay a little more attention to the caring with this particular Dom. I know he's a good guy, but it appears I failed to show it.

In an effort to give better insight into how the Dom thinks, I've written three conversations so far, but don't like any of them. One of them has the submissive talking to the Dom's best friend, another has the submissive overhearing a conversation between the Dom and his friend, and another is between the Dom and the sub directly. But all of them come off flat to me. I'm telling through dialogue and it's not working. Of course, I had to rewrite the conversation three times before that tidbit finally sunk in.

The book in question stays in the submissive's head the entire time, we never see the Dom's perspective. I think I'm going to write a scene from his perspective, see where that gets us. He's a really nice guy, and I want people to like him, after all.

What does it take for you to be able to like a fictitious, sadistic, dominant man? Is it enough to let him prove he's trustworthy by playing safe and respecting safewords, or do you need to understand what makes him tick?


  1. Safewords and all the various safety precautions are the kind of stuff I skim over.

    What makes me trust a dom in a book is if he pushes her to be a better person, outside of the bedroom. First example I can think of is Anneke's Anders. He controls Maia completely and they do all the kinky stuff, but he also pushes her to do better in college instead of just coasting.

    Also, if sometimes a little inadvertent tenderness creeps in. Maybe he strokes her hair softly or something, you know, before the nipple clamps come out.

    Oh and being protective. Grabbing her hand as they cross the street. Maybe when they walk down the sidewalk he keeps himself between her and the traffic side, etc.

  2. I'd like to know what makes him tick. Not necessarily the reasons he's into kink--that actually drives me nuts. I can't stand books that try to go into the psychology of kinksters. Its romance, come on! But if you can show us the character of the hero through his family and friends--nothing spells sweetheart and trustworthy more to me than a man who loves and dotes on his family. Is there someone in his family that he really connects with? His mother or sister maybe? Family dynamic can really show a lot about a character.

  3. A lot of good ideas there. It has to fit in with the novel, though... you can't throw in a scene showing him being good with his family, just to establish character, if it doesn't serve the books purpose in other ways. Like exposition, you are much better off giving bits and pieces at situations come up, rather than giving us it as one big chunk. That may be what's producing your "flat" scene, and your feeling that you're telling and not showing.

  4. I thought I had shown most of those things. Some friends he takes care of instead of family, but the same general idea. And he helps out with her career, nudging it along.

    And he is protective of her in normal situations, and is affectionate and caring and all of that.

    Now that it's been pointed out to me, I get why he is coming off a bit more dangerous than I'd intended. He's a famous and super rich computer geek who hides from the public when he can, and he's a bit socially backward, so he isn't as smooth and suave as most romance heros. Add his sadistic side into that and...

    Writing a scene from his POV may be the only way to let people see into him better. But I am also going to start from the beginning and see if I can add bits and pieces here and there to maybe try to show his nice side a bit more.

    Thanks for the input. I really care about these characters, and I love that they find each other and can make each other happy. But if people are weirded out by him then the story won't work, so I've gotta fix it.

  5. I think I trusted Tyler from Safeword: Rainbow because of his career (CIA) and because he was a longtime friend of Vivian's brother. It would be tricky to make the reclusive, socially awkward types trustworthy -- but you can do it!

    ~ Diana

  6. I think he sounds great, and I can't wait to read it! I agree with the others that I need to see it through his actions - some tenderness, some "taking care of" the sub character. Even (especially!) if she's an "independent woman," like the main character in Safeword Rainbows was.

    I think my favorite "caring sadist" is Dave in Deep in the Woods. He gets off on punishing Sophie, and he's fairly strict with her, but he's also affectionate and loving and takes very good care of her.